Stories for January 2014


Friday, January 31

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Are Violent-Crime 'Strike Forces' Worth It?

One of the keystones of Gov. Phil Bryant's legislative agenda passed a hurdle as Judiciary B Committee of the Mississippi State Senate approved a bill to create a system of statewide violent-crime strike forces.

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U.S. Seeks Death Penalty for Marathon Suspect

The announcement by federal prosecutors that they will seek the death penalty against the man accused in the Boston Marathon bombing came as no surprise to people who lost limbs or suffered other injuries in last year's attack.

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Play of the Week: "New Beginnings"

Mark Henderson, chairman of the Speech and Theater Department at Jackson State University and artistic director of MADDRAMA, focused his play, "New Beginnings," on eight stereotypes society tends to hold about black men.

Olympic Host Russia Coming Out of Doping Doghouse

When the world last came together for the Winter Olympics, Russia was in the doghouse because of doping.

Air Force: 92 Implicated in Nuke Cheating Scandal

Top Air Force officials described a persistent culture of "undue stress and fear" that led 92 out of 550 members of the military's nuclear missile corps to be involved in cheating on a monthly proficiency test on which they felt pressured to get perfect scores to get promoted.

Obama Asks CEOs for Help Hiring Long-Term Jobless

President Barack Obama is asking major corporations for their help in putting the long-term unemployed back to work.

Bill Would Ban Destruction of Guns in Buy-Back

Mississippi cities and counties would be banned from buying and destroying guns, under a proposal lawmakers are considering.

Thursday, January 30

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DIY Oyster Shell Necklace

Oyster shells, with their natural shimmer, strung on a simple chain can add a touch of new life with an everyday outfit.

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New BCBS Policy Raises Alarm

Physicians are alarmed about a new Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi policy that could take effect as early as Feb. 1. The insurance giant proposes to end prescription coverage for medications prescribed by out-of-network doctors.

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Wash., Colo., Have Few Ways to Stop Carry-On Weed

Among the many oddities that have arisen from marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado is this: It can be easier to get through airport security with a bag of weed than a bottle of water.

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Bill of the Day: Mississippi Youth Concussion Law

During the Super Bowl this Sunday, the topic of concussions is bound to come up at some point. Contact sports have come under fire in the last few years over head injuries, but none so much as football.

House Leaders to Outline Immigration Principles

House Republican leaders plan to outline broad immigration principles, including legalization for the 11 million immigrants living here illegally, to the GOP rank and file as they look to revive long-stalled efforts to overhaul the nation's immigration system.

New Treatment Could Reduce Kids' Peanut Allergies

An experimental therapy that fed children with peanut allergies small amounts of peanut flour has helped more than 80 percent of them safely eat a handful of the previously worrisome nuts.

Israeli Official Seeks to Allay EU Boycott Fears

Israel has the tools to limit the damage of any economic boycott, a senior official said Thursday, dismissing new warnings that the economy would suffer badly if U.S.-led peace talks with the Palestinians fail.

Report: Syria Government Has Razed Neighborhoods

The Syrian government used controlled explosives and bulldozers to raze thousands of residential buildings, in some cases entire neighborhoods, in a campaign that appeared designed to punish civilians sympathetic to the opposition or to cause disproportionate harm to them, an international human rights group said Thursday.

Miss. House Panel Passes Insurance Disclosure Bill

Lawmakers could require insurers to disclose how much they collect in premiums and how much they pay in claims in each ZIP code.

Wednesday, January 29

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Mr. Houston's Merroir

Jesse Houston, Jackson's resident mad scientist chef, is ready to pull a crabbit—yes, crabbit—out of his hat. He's hard at work planning for the opening of his new eatery, an oyster bar and restaurant in Fondren.

The Slate

Are you planning a Super Bowl menu? If you are a Broncos fan, pot roast should be on the table. If you're a Seahawks fans, you should invest in a bowl of Skittles—but avoid going beast mode on party guests.

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Bryan’s Super Rant, XLVIII Style

The last time we saw the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, John Elway (now the team's executive vice president of football operations) was walking into the sunset with his second-straight Super Bowl win. The last time the Seattle Seahawks were in the Super Bowl, they were getting jobbed in one of the worst-officiated Super Bowls ever.

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Big Bowl Expectations

This is a Super Bowl of opposites: The awe-shucks Peyton Manning and the Broncos against the young, brash and trash-talking Seahawks.

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At Home with The Delicate Cycle

While the domestic life may seem like it has no place for rock 'n' roll, Gordon and Joy Garretson dig into their experiences as a couple and as parents to create memorable music.

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2013: Music in Review

My favorite release of 2013 is Jason Isbell's "Southeastern." The first time I played the album, its lyrical beauty floored me. The songs feel like short stories chock-full of characters and experiences to which listeners can relate. Emotional connection is the key for enjoying this album.

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Danny Simmons Brings Dreams to JSU

In an effort to bring more awareness to art, Jackson State University and Gallery 1 are hosting Danny Simmons the month of February.

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Rebooted ‘Jack Ryan’ Stands on Loose Footing

Chris Pine puts on a decent performance in “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” but the film falls short of captivating.

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‘Black Flag’: An Immersive Expansion

The impressive experience of “Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag” makes an admirable case for more nautical adventures in video games.

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What Was She Thinking?!?

Blame the "Real Housewives," blame social media, blame society for conditioning us to feel better about ourselves by putting others down ... or blame ourselves.

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Gulf Drilling Saga Almost Over?

A controversy that started more than two years ago, during the waning days of Gov. Haley Barbour's final term in office, sparking a lengthy legal battle between environmentalists and state officials, could be decided before the end of the month.

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Unfair Share: How Oil and Gas Drillers Avoid Paying Royalties

In 1982, in a landmark effort to keep people from being fleeced by the oil industry, the federal government passed a law establishing that royalty payments to landowners would be no less than 12.5 percent of the oil and gas sales from their leases.

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Labor Rights, Civil Rights

A group of workers, preachers and activists traveled from Mississippi to Detroit recently to proclaim what should be a core issue of 2014. "Labor rights are civil rights," Open Door Mennonite Church pastor Horace McMillon of Jackson told folks at the North American International Auto Show.

Drilling, One Lake Need Real Public Airing-Out

We oppose the state's plan to lease parcels in Mississippi's magnificently pristine sound to exploration and oil and gas drilling.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Lady Mayor'

While gender (or race or class) certainly has a place in some political and policy discussions, whether Zimmer is a lady or a man has absolutely nothing to do with the controversies surrounding the administration of Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

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This Is Their Story

Mr. Announcement: "In the ghetto criminal-justice system, the people are represented by two members of the McBride family: police officer and part-time security guard at the Funky Ghetto Mall, Dudley 'Do-Right' McBride, and attorney Cootie McBride of the law firm McBride, Myself and I. This is their story."

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Legislative Update: Heart of the City

In addressing the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership's annual meeting last Wednesday, Bryant spoke frequently about the capital city.

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Death for Sex Crimes Against Children?

Two Republican state lawmakers want to pass laws to impose the death penalty for certain crimes against children.

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Council Hears Zoning Issues; Certifies Election

Jackson City Council members heard opposing views on zoning issues on Tuesday, Jan. 21, and some briefly called into question the results of Jan. 14 vote to approve a 1-percent sales tax to pay for work on the city's crumbling infrastructure.

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Pam Anglin

Pam Anglin doesn't quite know how she got into the antiques business. The job just fell into her lap.

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What Would Jeff Do?

We become great when we set out to build others up.

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Pat Metheny Brings Jazz to Jackson

Few jazz musicians' resumes can parallel that of fusion and post-bop guitarist Pat Metheny.

Fed is Expected to Further Trim Bond Purchases

The Federal Reserve is expected Wednesday to further reduce its stimulus for the U.S. economy even though that prospect has unsettled global financial markets.

Republicans Say Obama Can't Do Much Without Them

Congressional Republicans swiftly and sharply rejected President Barack Obama's vow to act on his own if lawmakers won't help him create jobs and narrow the nation's yawning income gap, insisting he'll accomplish little in a divided government without them.

Syria Talks in Geneva Make 'Positive' Step Forward

Syrian negotiators discussed the establishment of a transitional government body for the first time Wednesday, an opposition delegate said, describing it as a "positive step forward," a day after talks were cut short over a U.S. decision to resume aid to the opposition.

U.S. Intel Confirms N. Korea Nuke Reactor Restarted

U.S. intelligence says North Korea has followed through on its threat to advance its nuclear weapons program.

Bill Would Finance New UMMC Med School Building

Lawmakers are advancing a $31 million bond bill to finance a new medical school building at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Tuesday, January 28

States Consider Reviving Old-Fashioned Executions

With lethal-injection drugs in short supply and new questions looming about their effectiveness, lawmakers in some death penalty states are considering bringing back relics of a more gruesome past: firing squads, electrocutions and gas chambers.

Cuba's Castro Calls for Integration Free of U.S.

Cuban President Raul Castro called on Latin American and Caribbean leaders Tuesday to work together on pressing regional problems at a gathering of all Western Hemisphere nations except the U.S. and Canada.

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Dems Push for Fair Pay

Democrats in the state Legislature are advocating a number of bills that put equal pay for women in the forefront.

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JSU Opens New Apple Store, Starbucks

Tiger Tech @ JSU, an Apple Authorized Campus Store located on the first floor of the Jackson State University Student Center, will host its grand opening Jan. 31 at 10 a.m.

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Judy Meredith

James Meredith isn't the only one in his family working to change society. His wife, Judy, has been elected to the Fulbright Association's National Board of Directors and Diversity Task Force.

Obama Speech to Challenge Congress on Minimum Wage

Challenging lawmakers to help him create greater economic opportunity, President Barack Obama will use his State of the Union address Tuesday to announce he's raising the minimum wage for new federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour, underscoring a go-it-alone strategy in an election year critical to Democrats' hopes for retaining Senate control.

Ousted Egyptian Leader Defiant in Second Trial

Egypt's toppled President Mohammed Morsi stood alone in a soundproof glass-encased metal cage at the start of a new trial Tuesday wearing a white prison uniform, pacing and shouting angrily at the judge in apparent disbelief: "Who are you? Tell me!"

Southerners Warned of Icy Mess in Days Ahead

Across the South, residents stocked up on fuel and groceries, schools and offices closed, and road crews were at the ready as a storm moved in Tuesday from the central U.S., threatening to bring snow, ice and subzero temperatures to a region more accustomed to air conditioners and sunscreen than parkas and shovels.

Lawmakers Asked to Decide Tuition Plan's Fate

After 16 months of studying whether to reopen the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Program, the board that runs it wants the Legislature's opinion.

Monday, January 27

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New Oversight for Domestic-Violence Funds?

Several lawmakers have proposed bills that would establish an interpersonal-violence commission to monitor and distribute funds to domestic-violence shelters.

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Snow, Sleet Predicted for Parts of Mississippi

Portions of southeastern Mississippi could see an accumulation of snow and sleet Tuesday into Wednesday morning, according to National Weather Service predictions.

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Museum of the Day: Smith Robertson Museum

Recently, CNN recognized Jackson's Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, which explores the African American experience in the south.

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Community Meetings and Events

The Best of Mississippi 2014 Cook-off is Wednesday, Jan. 29, at Old Capitol Inn from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Obama Address an Opening Salvo for 2014 Elections

There's only so much that President Barack Obama can do to help his party this year. Six years in, he's less popular than before, and aside from fundraising, his value on the campaign trail is limited, especially in the places that matter most for Democrats.

Egypt's Generals OK el-Sissi Presidential Bid

The official news agency says that Egypt's top generals have endorsed a presidential run by the army chief who led the ouster of the Islamist president last summer.

Tense Session Breaks Up Over Syria Transition

The first meeting meant to discuss the contentious issue of a Syrian transitional government broke up less than an hour after it began Monday following a tense session that one delegate described as "a dialogue of the deaf."

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10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.

Saturday, January 25

Community Colleges Seek to Pay Tuition for All

Community college leaders are pushing a plan to pay costs not covered by existing financial aid for recent high school graduates who enroll full time.

Friday, January 24

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JSU: Domed Stadium Not Dead

Vivian Fuller, the athletic director for Jackson State University, says that plans for the domed venue for the college are still very much alive.

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Meridian COFO Building Demolition Gets Final Approval

A building in Meridian that once served as a gathering point for those working to register blacks to vote and planning of civil rights activities in East Mississippi in the 1960s is coming down. Mayor Percy Bland (pictured) says the city plans to memorialize the site in some way after the demolition.

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Heather McTeer Toney

Last week U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy announced that Heather McTeer Toney is President Barack Obama's selection for regional administrator for EPA's regional office in Atlanta.

Pakistan's Musharraf Wants Heart Treatment Abroad

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf wants to leave the country to undergo medical treatment for a heart condition abroad, defense lawyers in his high treason trial said Friday.

FDA Says Nutrition Facts Label Will Get a Makeover

After 20 years, the nutrition facts label on the back of food packages is getting a makeover.

Hagel Vows to Get to Bottom of Nuke Missile Ills

It began with his brief mention last fall of "troubling lapses" in the nuclear force. Weeks later Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel turned up the heat a notch by paying a rare visit to a nuclear missile base. And on Thursday he dropped his bombshell: a demand for quick answers to what ails this most sensitive of military missions.

Syrian Govt Threatens to Walk Out of Peace Talks

Syria's government handed an ultimatum to a U.N. mediator hoping to broker peace in the country's civil war, vowing to leave if "serious talks" do not begin by Saturday.

Miss. Craft Brewers Want to Sell Beer at Breweries

Mississippi lawmakers are considering whether to take sides in a beer battle that pits small breweries against big distributors.

Miss. House Seeks August Pay for School Employees

State lawmakers say they've got a plan to ensure teachers get paid in August, but school board leaders say they don't believe the fix is legal.

Thursday, January 23

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Pro-Immigrant Agenda Unveiled at Capitol

During MIRA's Civic Engagement Day, attendees walked from the MIRA office on North State Street to the state capitol.

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What Mississippi's Lawmakers Are Proposing for Education

Lawmakers in Mississippi have proposed more than 200 education laws for the 2014 session, in what is poised to be the second consecutive legislative session with a heavy focus on schools.

Iran 's Heavyweight Absence Hangs Over Syria Talks

It's the regional heavyweight that few want at the table, but without it any attempt to end the Syria war may be futile. Iran's backing is crucial for President Bashar Assad's hold on power — and for the Iranians, Syria is key to their aspirations of regional power.

Va. AG: State Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Following a seismic political shift in Virginia's top elected offices, the new attorney general has concluded that the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional and he will no longer defend it in federal lawsuits, his office said Thursday.

Egypt's President: Police State Has Ended

Egypt's military-backed interim president said Thursday that the country's uprisings have put an end to the police state and to abuses, part of a campaign to rebrand the security forces amid a heavy handed crackdown on Islamists and other critics of the government.

Immigrants' Group Seeks Expanded In-State Tuition

The Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance is asking lawmakers to approve in-state college tuition for children who graduate from high school in Mississippi after being brought to the U.S. by parents who lack proper immigration documents.

Bryant Discusses Safety and Jobs in State of State

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says in his State of the State speech that he wants to hire more Highway Patrol troopers, focus on job development, improve the budget process and continue trying to reduce the teen pregnancy rate.

Wednesday, January 22

Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman Gives Democratic Response to Bryant 'State of the State'

Mississippi Democrats call for unity to fix problems: "These problems are too big for any one party or any one idea to fix. But I know that if we can put party labels aside and work together, we can create a better Mississippi."

Gov. Bryant's 'State of the State' speech

Gov. Phil Bryant delivered his State of the State address this evening. Here it is.

The Slate

This season has only one meaningful football game left. After Super Bowl XLVIII, no more football games until next fall—but the NFL Draft is coming in April to whet our football appetite.

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DIY Kids

Kids like to do things for themselves. And ultimately, we as parents want them to learn to be independent, resourceful and self-reliant adults. One way to do this is to get kids involved at a young age in doing things for themselves and learning how to do things that benefit the whole family.

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Best of Jackson 2014: Food & Drink

While it might seem like 2013 was the year of new Fondren, with fresh shops, restaurants and bars making the area arguably the hippest place in Jackson, Walker's Drive-In has been a Fondren staple for years.

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Best of Jackson 2014: Urban Living

One sign of a great tourist attraction is its ability to generate repeat visits—especially from the locals. It doesn't hurt if it is reasonably priced, either.

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Best of Jackson 2014: Music & Nightlife

One might not expect Jackson to be home of a talented New Orleans-style brass band. But with influences including Rebirth Brass Band and Soul Rebels Brass Band—two influential groups from New Orleans—the Southern Komfort Brass Band uses brass-band music as a base to which it incorporates covers of R&B, hip-hop and pop songs.

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Best of Jackson 2014: Community & Culture

Nate West and Tim Murphy can make a morning commute a lot more fun with the Showgram Show on Y101.

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Best of Jackson 2014: People

Jeff Good wears a lot of hats, sometimes literally, in the creative and colorful ads he stars in for the three restaurants he co-owns.

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A Vision for Jackson’s Future

To be a competitive, thriving and, yes, happy city, Jackson needs to address two categories of infrastructure: the one that moves things between people, and the one that moves things within people.

Editorial: Shop Local, Shop the Best

When we launched the Best of Jackson reader poll back in 2002, we did it in part because we wanted people to fully grasp all of the wonderful and unique local people, places and businesses that Jackson had to offer.

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Speak Up, and Show Up, for Jackson Public Schools

Recently, on a frigid winter night a dozen or so advocates for education, including students, sat around a table at the Eudora Welty library and discussed the issues facing public education today, both good and bad.

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This Can’t Be Life

Every other week, Victoria Phillips drives three and a half hours from her Raleigh home to visit her husband, who is incarcerated at Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman.

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Natural Gas: The Natural Choice?

The purchase of three new squad cars for the Jackson Police Department breezed through approval last month, but some city leaders are calling for the city to take a new approach to buying vehicles.

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Model for Drug-Testing Bill Controversial

Gov. Phil Bryant has mined Florida for many of his bigger ideas, and his recent the drug-testing bill is no exception.

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Jackson Hospitals Expanding

The University of Mississippi Medical Center will soon have a downtown presence. The only question is how long it will take and how big of an impact it will have.

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Lee King

When legendary performer James Brown called to offer Lee King a job, King hung up on him. Twice.

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Lean In to Greatness, Jackson

Jackson is judged unfairly, it is called names and, when we stand up for ourselves to people who want us to shut up and comply (ahem, Legislature), the pushback gets even tougher. How dare we talk back, call them out and aspire for greatness?!?

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Recent Coaching Hires

If you haven't noticed, three recent coaching hires are shaking up area colleges and universities. Mississippi College, Belhaven and Jackson State have all made coaching changes.

A Look at Key Fighting Groups in Syria

Here's a list of key fighting groups inside Syria.

Syrian Peace Talks Stuck Over Assad's Future

Peace talks intended to carve a path out of Syria's civil war got off to a rocky start Wednesday as a bitter clash over President Bashar Assad's future threatened to collapse the negotiations even before they really begin.

Violence Across Syria as Peace Conference Begins

Syrian forces and opposition fighters clashed Wednesday in different parts of Syria as a peace conference to end its nearly three-year conflict began in Switzerland, activists and state media said.

Cochran, Wicker Back Easing Concealed Gun Limits

Mississippi Republican Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker are co-sponsoring a bill that would require most states to recognize permits other states issue that allow people to carry concealed firearms.

Wright Emphasizes Preschool and Teacher Training

New state Superintendent Carey Wright is emphasizing more money for state-funded preschool and to improve literacy instruction in early grades.

Tuesday, January 21

Syria Peace Talks: Hyped as Crucial, Downplayed

In nearly the same breath, the world's most powerful diplomats have talked about the importance of this week's peace conference on Syria and downplayed expectations for a breakthrough.

State Victories Create Dilemma for Abortion Foes

Opponents who have chipped away at abortion with state-level restrictions are facing a dilemma in some of the places where they have been most successful: Do they continue with that approach or seek more dramatic policies that risk court rulings that could undo previous gains?

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Rally: Schools Budget Gap an 'Injustice'

The Mississippi Adequate Education Program lays out the bare minimum that schools need to operate, but lawmakers almost never follow it.

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Monroe's, Brain Drain, Amada and Community Development

On Friday, Jan. 17, Monroe Jackson, owner of Monroe's Donuts and Bakery, officially opened a new location on the ground floor of downtown's Capital Towers.

Halliburton Manager Gets Probation in Gulf Spill

A former Halliburton manager was sentenced Tuesday to one year of probation for destroying evidence in the aftermath of BP's massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Ricin Letters Suspect Guilty of Fondling

The man who pleaded guilty last week to sending poison-laced letters to President Barack Obama and other officials has now pleaded guilty to unrelated fondling charges.

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Catherine Lutz

St. Joseph Catholic Church in Gluckstabt held a funeral Monday for Major General Catherine Lutz, the first woman to command the Mississippi National Guard, who died last week at age 58.

Israeli Opposition Chief Doubts Netanyahu's 'Guts'

Israel's opposition leader said Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fully appreciates the wisdom of making peace with the Palestinians. He's just not sure he has the "guts."

Russia, Iran Criticize Tehran Snub for Syria Talks

Russia and Iran on Tuesday criticized the U.N. chief's decision to withdraw Tehran's invitation to join this week's peace conference on Syria, as diplomats said a new report on Syrian regime atrocities underscored the urgent need to try to end the country's brutal civil war.

Groups Rally for More Money for Teachers, Schools

It's not a new message, but teachers and others hope that 2015 proves more fruitful in their push for higher pay and increased state aid to public schools.

Monday, January 20

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Wives Resist Conjugal Visit Ban

Wives and family members of incarcerated men serving time in Mississippi prisons are urging state corrections officials to rethink the recent elimination of conjugal visits.

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Lawmakers Move to Restore Voting Rights Act

Four states—Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas—would again have to get approval from the Justice Department before making any changes in the way they hold elections under a bipartisan bill introduced Thursday to restore parts of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional.

U.S. Officials: Iran Not Eligible for Syria Meet

Iran has still not met the criteria to participate in an upcoming international conference on Syria hosted by the United Nations, and its invitation to attend must be withdrawn unless it fully and publicly endorses the aims of the meeting, senior U.S. officials said Monday.

EU Lifts Some Sanctions on Iran

The European Union has voted to lift some economic sanctions on Iran after getting word that high-level uranium enrichment there was suspended earlier in the day.

Some Obama Spy Changes Hampered by Complications

Several of the key surveillance reforms unveiled by President Barack Obama face complications that could muddy the proposals' lawfulness, slow their momentum in Congress and saddle the government with heavy costs and bureaucracy, legal experts warn.

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10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.

Saturday, January 18

Miss. Wants Suit Against Entergy in State Court

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood is asking a federal judge to return the state's lawsuit against Entergy Mississippi to Hinds County Chancery Court.

Friday, January 17

Man Pleads Guilty to Sending Ricin-Tainted Letters

A Mississippi man has pleaded guilty to sending poison-laced letters to President Barack Obama and other officials.

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Charlayne Hunter-Gault Headlines MLK Event

After Charlayne Hunter-Gault integrated the University of Georgia in 1961, she was naturally swept up in the tumult of the Civil Rights Act and wanted to join her fellow student activists in protesting against Jim Crow.

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State Developments Help to Grow Downtown

The vacancy rate of offices in the downtown Jackson area will soon drop, thanks to two moves from state-level government entities.

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Obama Proposes New Limits on NSA Phone Collections

President Barack Obama on Friday called for ending the government's control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court's permission before accessing such records.

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Dan Aykroyd

To say that actor Dan Aykroyd, 61, is a modern-day Renaissance man might be an understatement.

Syria Says Ready for Cease-Fire, Prisoners Swap

Syria's foreign minister said Friday his country is prepared to implement a cease-fire in the war-torn city of Aleppo and exchange detainees with the country's opposition forces as a confidence building measure ahead of a peace conference opening next week in Switzerland.

Europe Launches RoboEarth: 'Wikipedia for Robots'

Expectations are high for RoboEarth, a new European-funded system to speed the development of human-serving robots. Scientists from five major European technical universities have gathered in the Netherlands this week for its launch and to demonstrate possible applications.

State Approving New Common Core Courses and Tests

The details of Mississippi's transition to Common Core are becoming clearer.

Medical Group: Teach Children Good Health Habits

The president of the Mississippi State Medical Association says teaching children about exercise and proper nutrition could help reverse some of the state's terrible health trends.

Thursday, January 16

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Dems: Drug-Testing Bill 'Narrow-Minded'

The biggest fight of the young legislative session ended last night with the approval of a bill that would require random screenings of people applying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits.

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'Hustle,' 'Gravity' Lead Oscars With 10 Nods Each

The Academy Awards appear to be the three-horse race many expected they would be, with "Gravity," ''American Hustle" and "12 Years a Slave" all receiving a heap of nominations.

Official: Egyptian Voters Have Backed New Charter

An overwhelming majority of Egyptians who voted on the country's new constitution backed the draft charter, a senior Egyptian official said Thursday, despite criticism from an international monitoring group of a clampdown on free speech ahead of the election.

India Police Close in on Homeless Men in Gang Rape

Indian police said Thursday that they were closing in on six homeless men in the gang rape of a 51-year-old Danish tourist in New Delhi, a case that highlights the plague of sexual violence in the country and threatens to tarnish its tourism industry.

Nigerian Leader Fires All Military Commanders

In a major shakeup of the high command of Nigeria's military which is battling Islamic insurgents, President Goodluck Jonathan fired all his service chiefs Thursday and appointed an air force officer from the troubled northeast as the top military commander.

Universities Seek $20M to Fund Aid Formula

The board that oversees state-run universities in Mississippi says it needs more money to complete the transition to a new formula for dispensing funds to the state's eight public universities.

Wednesday, January 15

Miss. House OKs Drug Testing for the Poor

A proposal to randomly test some recipients of federal-state assistance passed the Mississippi House of Representatives just after 6 p.m.

JFP Top 25: Final College Football Poll

After Florida State's win over Auburn, the college football season and the BCS both came to a final conclusion. The Seminoles and the Tigers put on a show in the season's final game.

The Slate

I now believe that making a deal with the devil is real. How else am I supposed to explain why Lane Kiffin keeps getting fired and promptly hired into posh jobs?

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Sports-World Thoughts

Now that the holidays are over, I figured I would take some time to deliver my scattered thoughts on sports-world developments over the last few weeks.

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Jackson, Shhh ...

As Thalia Mara Hall undergoes its facelift this winter and with the reopening of the Iron Horse Grill—along with the many great clubs and restaurants—the sky is the limit for live music in Jackson.

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Monster Trucks, Loud and Fast in Jackson

The Monster X Tour is coming to the Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St., 601-353-0603) Jan. 17 and 18.

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Clay Hardwick Turns Up the Arts

Clay Hardwick doesn't name his canvas creations. Instead, each piece carries the year, a season and a sequential number: "2012-fall-08," for example.

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More Picky Vegetarian

The one type of "sandwich" that lends itself well to almost any ingredient or lifestyle is a quesadilla.

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La Finestra: A Little Italy in Downtown

Chef Tom Ramsey's first restaurant venture could have been a burger joint, but, thanks to a judicious son, he went in for an Italian restaurant in the Plaza Building at 120 N. Congress St.

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The Battle for Downtown, Part 2: What Should Farish Become?

Nothing rivals the level of disappointment over what has happened on Farish Street, the historic area on downtown Jackson's periphery designated as the future site of an entertainment district.

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I Am Not Impressed With Dr. King

I was not one precious little bit impressed with the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C. I was stunned at just how unmoved I was.

Give Teachers Raises

As long as we have had a public-education system, we have debated how much public-school teachers deserve to paid. The answer is simple: a whole lot more than they're earning now.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Hip-Hop'

The list of hip-hop artists who attended college is quite long, as is the list of prestigious American colleges and universities that now offer courses in hip-hop studies.

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Gov. Winter and the New Mississippi

Charles C. Bolton's "William F. Winter and the New Mississippi" covers the life of Mississippi's 57th governor, who began in politics as a driver for James O. Eastland during his campaign for the United States Senate in 1942.

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King Cake Season

We've officially gone past the 12th day of Christmas, bringing the holiday season to a close. That holiday season, anyway.

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Pulling the Trigger on a Gun Ordinance

Jackson City Council President Charles Tillman's effort to ban firearms in certain public areas is encountering new obstacles that could ultimately sink the measure.

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The Blueprint

The capital city wants legislative funding to pay for emergency services the city provides to state buildings and agencies, to move to elected school-board members and the ability to appoint more municipal judges.

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In Prison Reform, Will Racism Persist?

Mississippi is going to make its criminal-justice system work better. That's how newly minted House Corrections Committee Chairman Tommy Taylor, R-Boyle, started a joint meeting of the Mississippi House Corrections and Judiciary B committees.

Question o' the Week: After the ups and downs Farish Street has seen in the past several years, what do you think the area needs to thrive?

After the ups and downs Farish Street has seen in the past several years, what do you think the area needs to thrive?

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Jackson Gives Local-Option Sales Tax a Resounding 'Yes'

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba had plenty of reasons to be happy when he took to the podium at The Room Tuesday night—700,000 reasons, to be exact.

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Experts Stress Online Safety for Teens

Parents must be aware of how their children are interacting in an era of instant communication, and they must exercise control over spaces where nothing ever disappears—even when it's not true.

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Lizzie Cooper

It was in 1990 that Lizzie Cooper, a Jackson native, opened up Double Trouble, a center for those afflicted with drug addiction and mental disorders in the Jackson area.

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I Was Wrong About Farish

Design your neighborhood for locals ... and you'll entice the tourists as well.

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Jewish Cinema Mississippi: The Road to Sukkot

"(Sukkot) is a handbook for how to live, breathe and act as a truly free people," says the description on the Facebook page of the film "Road to Eden: Rock 'n' Roll Sukkot." That film is the grand finale of this year's Jewish Cinema Mississippi.

Officials: Obama Likely to OK Phone Record Changes

President Barack Obama is expected to endorse changes to the way the government collects millions of Americans' phone records for possible future surveillance, but he'll leave many of the specific adjustments for Congress to sort out, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the White House intelligence review.

Danish Tourist Gang-Raped, Indian Police Say

A 51-year-old Danish tourist was gang-raped near a popular shopping area in New Delhi after she got lost and approached a group of men for directions back to her hotel, police said Wednesday.

House Ready to OK Government-Wide $1.1T Budget

Shunning the turmoil of recent budget clashes, Congress is ready to approve a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill for this year, a compromise financing everything from airports to war costs and brimming with victories and setbacks for both parties.

Economist: Government is Top Employer in Miss.

Government is Mississippi's largest employer these days, state economist Darrin Webb told lawmakers Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 14

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Questions Loom for Jackson, JSU Football

JSU announced Dec. 18 that it would replace Rick Comegy and, less than one month later, unveiled Harold Jackson.

Dozens Arrested for Being Gay in North Nigeria

First the police targeted the gay men, then tortured them into naming dozens of others who now are being hunted down, human rights activists said Tuesday, warning that such persecution will rise under a new Nigerian law.

Dozens of Trade-Offs in $1.1 Trillion Budget Bill

A massive $1.1 trillion spending bill, aimed at funding the government through October and putting to rest the bitter budget battles of last year, is getting generally positive reviews from House Republicans who are eager to avoid another shutdown crisis with elections looming.

Clashes Kill 11 on First Day of Egypt Vote

A referendum on a new constitution laid bare the sharp divisions in Egypt six months after the military removed the elected Islamist president. Pro-army voters lined up Tuesday outside polling stations, singing patriotic songs, kissing images of Egypt's top officer and sharing their upbeat hopes for their troubled nation.

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Whole Foods, Fondren Nails, H&M and Belhaven

On Jan. 10, Whole Foods Market issued a press release announcing the opening date for the new store opening in Highland Village. The doors will open Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 9 a.m.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A great man once said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." That man was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The great civil rights hero died of a gunshot wound April 4, 1968, but his legacy lives on.

More in W.Va. Cleared to Use Water After Spill

Downtown businesses and restaurants began to reopen after water was declared safe to drink in portions of West Virginia's capital, but life has yet to return to normal for most of the 300,000 people who haven't been able to use running water in the five days since a chemical spill.

Egypt Holds Key Vote on Country's New Charter

Egyptians voted Tuesday on a new constitution in a referendum that will pave the way for a likely presidential run by the nation's top general months after he ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Phone Firms Balk at Proposed Spy Data Shift

Telephone companies are quietly balking at the idea of changing how they collect and store Americans' phone records to help the National Security Agency's surveillance programs.

Gunn: Teachers Deserve Salary Increase

Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn on Monday repeated his support for an across-the-board teacher pay raise this year.

Monday, January 13

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JSU Taps Harold Jackson as Football Coach

It didn't take long, but Jackson State University named a new head football coach today.

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After 5 Days, W.Va.'s Water Crisis Nears its End

For the fifth straight day, hundreds of thousands of people in West Virginia had to wash, cook and brush their teeth with bottled water, but officials promised the ban on tap water that was tainted by a chemical spill would soon be lifted.

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Susan Hughey Hogan and Paul Hughey

When Paul Hughey died at age 75, he left behind an old possession in his Gulfport home that would fuel a powerful goal for his daughter, Susan Hughey Hogan.

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Community Meetings and Events

The Monster X Tour is Friday, Jan. 17 and Saturday, Jan. 18 at Mississippi Coliseum.

Thai Protesters Block Roads in Bid to Shut Capital

Anti-government protesters seized key intersections across Thailand's capital on Monday, blockading major roads into the heart of Bangkok's downtown districts at the start of a renewed push to derail elections next month and overthrow the prime minister.

Swedish Doctors Transplant Wombs into 9 Women

Nine women in Sweden have successfully received transplanted wombs donated from relatives and will soon try to become pregnant, the doctor in charge of the pioneering project has revealed.

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10 Local Stories of the Week

There's never a slow news week in Jackson, Miss., and last week was no exception. Here are the local stories JFP reporters brought you in case you missed them.

Saturday, January 11

Kemper Plant Opponent Cleared of Using State Money

Mississippi's state auditor and a legislative watchdog committee say there's no merit to allegations that an opponent of Mississippi Power Co.'s Kemper County plant misspent state money.

Friday, January 10

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Poor Schools Struggle to Fill Funding Gaps

JPS Superintendent Dr. Cedrick Gray and other school superintendents say that because Mississippi isn't fully funding its education formula, their districts have fewer classroom aides, larger class sizes, outdated computers and aging buses.

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Amid Abortion Debate, the Pursuit of Science

For the last decade or so, Tracy Weitz has been one of the most prominent abortion researchers in the United States.

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Marathon of the Day

Running and blues music don't really go together—that is, unless you're either listening to the blues while running, or you're one of the participants in the Mississippi Blues Marathon and Half Marathon.

India Asks US Embassy to Remove 1 of Its Officers

India asked the United States on Friday to withdraw a diplomat from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, the latest retaliation in a smoldering diplomatic dispute touched off by the arrest and strip search of an Indian diplomat in New York.

C. African Republic President, PM Stepping Down

Michel Djotodia, the rebel leader who seized control of Central African Republic only to see the desperately poor country tumble toward anarchy and sectarian bloodshed, agreed to resign Friday along with his prime minister, regional officials announced.

Israel Says It Will Build New Homes in West Bank

Israel announced plans Friday to build 1,400 new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territory the Palestinians claim for their future state.

Superintendents Say Funding Gap Pinches Schools

School superintendents say that because Mississippi isn't fully funding its education formula, their districts have fewer classroom aides, larger class sizes, outdated computers and aging buses.

Thursday, January 9

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JFD Battles Downtown Fire

What fire officials are calling a "major" industrial fire is burning in downtown Jackson.

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Prison Recs Give Judges More Power

A joint meeting of the Mississippi House Corrections and Judiciary B committees took the first step towards grappling with the growing prison population that policymakers believe is needlessly costing state taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Keenan Lewis

When the New Orleans Saints won their first on-the-road playoff game in franchise history against the Philadelphia Eagles, it seemed like one injury was going to take away the victory before it was sealed.

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Stinker Quote of the Week: 'Drugs'

Since Bryant oversees the agency that administers TANF, if there are people receiving benefits who are not working, it's his administration that's not following the law.

Republicans Promote Ways of Helping the Poor

Faced with an empathy gap before the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans are trying to forge a new image as a party that helps the poor and lifts struggling workers into the middle class.

Obama, Congress Locked in Iran Sanctions Dispute

The Obama administration enters the year locked in a battle with Congress over whether to plow ahead with new economic sanctions against Iran or cautiously wait to see if last year's breakthrough nuclear agreement holds.

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Obama Ponders Limiting NSA Access to Phone Records

President Barack Obama is expected to rein in spying on foreign leaders and is considering restricting National Security Agency access to Americans' phone records, according to people familiar with a White House review of the government's surveillance programs.

Hiring Policies Make Job Hunt Tough for Ex-Inmates

Mississippi lawmakers say they want to reduce the number of former inmates who return to prison after serving time. However, one state representative said ex-felons could have trouble finding jobs because of workers' compensation insurance policies that companies carry.

Wednesday, January 8

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Run, Saints, Run

The last time the New Orleans Saints faced the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL Playoffs was historic. Seattle was the first team with a losing record to win a playoff game.

The Slate

The New Orleans Saints won their first road playoff game in franchise history this past Saturday. Their reward is a trip to Seattle to play the Seahawks in one of the NFL's most hostile environments.

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The Sex, Drugs and Wolves of Wall Street

“The Wolf of Wall Street,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, is a maniacal roller coaster of excess.

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Inside the Watercolor Society

Though watercolor isn’t an easy medium, members of the Mississippi Watercolor Society are working to change the misconceptions about the art form.

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Tomato Cucumber Pasta Salad

This recipe continues our Wellness month feature on healthy vegetarian meals, which began in issue 17.

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Georgia Blue: Just Like Memaw’s Kitchen

Georgia Blue hangs its hat on the daily lunch special served on the iconic blue plate.

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Hit the Road, Jackson

If you really wish to boost your health, wellness and state of mind this new year, I offer a simple prescription: Spend more time outside.

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The City-Focused Push

Christmas has come and gone, but Jackson leadership is hoping the Mississippi Legislature will find a little room to stuff a few more much-needed gifts in the city's stocking.

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The Influencers

Lobbyists remain one of the most formidable forces in Congress and under capitol domes around the nation. Lobbying, which the U.S. Constitution protects as a form of free speech, has at times precipitated scandals and, at other times, ushered landmark legislation.

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Trayvon, Black Manhood and Love

I want to be loved by an unreasonable love that knows the only reason we're still here, breathing, imagining, fighting, wandering and wondering is because of the unreasonable work of a small but committed group of black southern unreasonable lovers.

Make Prison Reform Real

Our story last week about the Mississippi Department of Corrections' decision to end its longstanding practice of allowing conjugal visits has been getting a lot of attention in and outside the state.

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Surviving Joblessness

"With support from the Ghetto Science Team's Save the Jobless, Broke and Frustrated Financial Safety Net Program, the Compensatory Investment Request Support Group will execute a series of self-help sessions for recently laid off workers and the long-term unemployed."

Question o' the Week: What do you hope to see our legislators accomplish in 2014?

What do you hope to see our legislators accomplish in 2014?

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Rick Hill Brings It Home

Rick Hill retired last week after working 41 years with the city and an emotional goodbye following an honor from the Jackson City Council.

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JRA Lawsuit Heating Up

A couple of key motions in the lawsuit the Jackson Redevelopment Authority brought against its former Farish Street leaseholder are set to be ruled upon this week.

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Cecil Brown

Just as Switzerland hasn't always practiced neutrality, Rep. Cecil Brown, a north Jackson Democrat since 2000, says the Legislature hasn't always been as polarized as it is now.

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My ‘News’ Year Resolutions

By the time you read this, the 2014 regular session of the Mississippi Legislature will be underway. And there's a good chance, by then, we'll all already be kind of over it.

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A Father to a Son

Big Bill Morganfield does not take his role in the history of blues music lightly.

Gov't Offers New Approach to Classroom Discipline

The Obama administration is issuing new recommendations on classroom discipline that seek to end the apparent disparities in how students of different races are punished for violating school rules.

Benefits Debate is First Volley of Election Year

The struggle in Washington over whether to renew expired jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed is as much about providing aid to 1.3 million out-of-work Americans as it is about drawing the first political line of an election year.

UN Warns of Humanitarian Threat in Western Iraq

Iraq's prime minister urged al-Qaida-linked fighters who have overrun two cities west of Baghdad to give up the battle, vowing Wednesday to press forward with a push to regain control of the mainly Sunni areas.

Miss. Lawmakers Must Balance Spending and Demands

Mississippi lawmakers gaveled their 2014 session to order at noon Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 7

Rolling Fork Mayor Indicted for Fraud

The mayor of a small town in the Mississippi Delta has been indicted on false pretense and wire fraud charges related to invoices for grants to rehabilitate houses.

New Prospects in 2014 for an Immigration Overhaul

His agenda tattered by last year's confrontations and missteps, President Barack Obama begins 2014 clinging to the hope of winning a lasting legislative achievement: an overhaul of immigration laws.

Sandusky Tries to Get His Penn State Pension Back

A handcuffed Jerry Sandusky testified by video link for nearly three hours Tuesday as Pennsylvania's public pension agency considered his request to restore retirement benefits canceled because of his child molestation conviction.

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Legislators Return to Jackson

Legislators from across Mississippi are gathering in Jackson today for the beginning of the 2014 legislative session, and Jackson's leaders are going to be there to welcome them.

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ardenland, UMMC and Nissan

On Jan. 1, Arden Barnett, founder of entertainment company ardenland, finalized a long-term lease with building owner Mike Peters of Peters Development for Duling Hall in Fondren.

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Elvis Presley

If Elvis Presley was still alive, he'd be 79 years old tomorrow, Jan. 8.

Unemployment Benefits Bill Clears Hurdle

White House-backed legislation to renew benefits for the long-term unemployed unexpectedly cleared an initial Senate hurdle on Tuesday, clearing the way for bipartisan negotiations in the opening days of an election-year session of Congress.

Lawmakers Put Finishing Touches on Spending Bill

Negotiators trying to put the finishing touches on a $1.1 trillion spending bill reported Tuesday that they have made major progress in recent days in advance of a meeting of the four principal negotiators later in the day.

RNC Starts Negative Ads in 40 Media Markets

The Republican National Committee began running ads in 40 media markets Tuesday, mostly targeting incumbent senators who supported President Barack Obama's health care program. Billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, meanwhile, gave $2.5 million to help Democrats defend their majority in the Senate.

Nurse Sentenced in Cancer Clinic Fraud Case

A woman was sentenced on Monday to house arrest and probation for failing to report a crime at a Mississippi cancer clinic that was shut down over unsafe practices and accused of a multimillion-dollar fraud.

Miss. Lawmakers Face Long Agenda in 2014 Session

Mississippi lawmakers start their three-month session at noon Tuesday, and they face a long agenda. They'll write a budget, seek ways to control prison costs, debate education policy and argue about health care.

Monday, January 6

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McQuirter Picked Hinds Board Prez

During an at-times testy Hinds County Board of Supervisors meeting, supervisors elected a new president and changed the board's policy for choosing presidents and vice-presidents in the future.

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Thousands Waiting for Medicaid Coverage Are Stuck in Limbo

For years, Obama administration officials talked about how the health law's online marketplaces would offer a seamless shopping experience for consumers looking for health coverage.

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Resolution of the Day

Now that it's 2014, most of us have probably set resolutions to try to get healthier. It's easy to talk about getting healthier, but often we set our goals too high. Once we fail, we find ourselves abandoning the goals altogether.

Fed Chair, Unemployment on Tap as Congress Returns

Back to work on Monday, Congress faces a hefty list of unfinished business and a politically driven agenda in an election year that will determine control of the House and Senate.

Palestinians Express Reservations on Kerry's Ideas

A Palestinian official says the Palestinians have reservations about some of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's ideas for the outlines of a peace deal with Israel, particularly on the future of Jerusalem.

'Polar Vortex' Pushes Subzero Temps into Midwest

A whirlpool of frigid, dense air known as a "polar vortex" descended Monday into much of the U.S., pummeling parts of the country with a dangerous cold that could break decades-old records with wind chill warnings stretching from Montana to Alabama.

Saturday, January 4

Expansion of Mississippi Medicaid Unlikely in 2014

Mississippi lawmakers appear unlikely to do an about-face and vote to expand Medicaid this year.

Friday, January 3

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City Gearing Up For Referendum Vote

If you hear a knock at the door between now and Jan. 14, you could be receiving a visit from supporters of the proposed 1 percent sales tax.

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Many Spanish Speakers Left Behind in First Wave Of Obamacare

In the 36 states that rely on the federally run insurance exchanges, including Texas and Florida, Latinos until recently couldn't enroll online in Spanish.

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Salvation Army Thrift Store Burns

The Jackson Salvation Army Thrift Store on Presto Lane is destroyed after an early morning fire today.

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John Bland

Mississippi College officially named John Bland the new head coach of the Choctaws during a ceremony Thursday, Jan. 2, in the Rebounder's Room of MC's A.E. Wood Coliseum.

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It's the Weekend!

On Sunday, the BankPlus Racing Vehicle Extravaganza is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Mississippi Trade Mart.

Iraqi Troops Press Battle in West with al-Qaida

Under siege by government forces, al-Qaida militants tried to strengthen their hold on two of Iraq's main Sunni cities Friday, telling residents that they were defending them against the Shiite-led government.

Prague Locals Want to Oust Palestinian Embassy

Relations between Palestinians and the Czech Republic took a nosedive Friday after residents voiced concerns over the discovery of illegal weapons found at the Palestinian embassy complex where a booby-trapped safe killed the ambassador.

4 Dead After Cambodian Police Fire on Protesters

At least four people were killed Friday when police outside Cambodia's capital opened fire to break up a protest by striking garment workers demanding a doubling of the minimum wage, police and human rights workers said.

Winter Storm Brings Snow, Kills at Least 9

A winter storm that dropped nearly 2 feet of snow just north of Boston, temporarily shut down major highways in New York and Pennsylvania and forced airlines to cancel thousands of flights nationwide menaced the Northeast on Friday with howling winds and dangerously cold temperatures.

OIG Audit Questions Use of Katrina Money in Miss.

A new federal report says Mississippi officials accepted unsupported population growth estimates in developing a plan to use $653 million in federal Hurricane Katrina recovery money for water and wastewater facilities, including some that may not be needed.

Thursday, January 2

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The 14-Minute Fix

If you are like me, your home feels a little ... less after the holiday decorations are packed up and put away.

The Slate

This is a great week in sports, what with the wildcard weekend of the NFL Playoffs and bowl games that lead up to the final BCS National Championship Game. This football season is ending, folks.

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Road to the Super Bowl

The road to Super Bowl XLVIII goes through Seattle in the NFC—seems only fitting that the one-seed Seahawks are all the way across the country.

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God’s Grace and Good Marketing

For Jackson-based Seeker & Servant, pushing above the shifting stream of current trends is a matter of putting musical preferences to work and nonstop effort into spreading the word.

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City Music

The Mississippi Museum of Art and St. Andrew's Cathedral will partner Jan. 7 for another edition of the "Music in the City" series.

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Doin’ the Hustle

Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) and Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) make a cunningly irresistible pair in “American Hustle.”

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Tree Lovers

Self-proclaimed "urban loggers" David Dill, 30, and Paul Purser, 29, planned to become architects, but have become so much more.

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Mexican Meals on Wheels

Tito Gutierrez, 33-year-old entrepreneur and Mississippi Air National Guard pilot, is the owner of Tito's Taco's, Jackson's best Mexican restaurant on wheels.

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Eat Your Vegetables

The first step to being a healthy vegetarian is deciding what you do and don't want to eat. Many people don't realize the term "vegetarian" means different things to different people.

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Tips for Beginning Runners

If one of your goals for 2014 is to hit the ground running (literally), consider these tips from Jeremy Jungling.

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Recipes for Picky Vegetarians

Making smoothies can be a daunting task. To make it work, you have to understand how to order things.

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Start Where You Are

Every journey has a beginning. Trying to start in the middle—or at the end—is unrealistic and can leave us frustrated and defeated, even with a healthy dose of positive thinking.

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Climate Coverage Soars in 2013, Spurred by Energy, Weather

Coverage of climate change issues jumped in 2013, fueled by reporting on energy issues—fracking, pipelines, oilsands—and a heavy dose of wacky weather worldwide.

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Gov. Phil Bryant

Gov. Phil Bryant is willing to take a drug test.

Health Overhaul Benefits Take Effect with New Year

After a troubled rollout, President Barack Obama's health care overhaul now faces its most personal test: How will it work as people seek care under its new mandates?

Texting, Dialing While Driving Raises Crash Risk

A sophisticated, real-world study confirms that dialing, texting or reaching for a cellphone while driving raises the risk of a crash or near-miss, especially for younger drivers.

Israel Official: Jordan Valley Must Remain Border

A senior Israeli Cabinet minister and more than a dozen hawkish legislators poured cement at a construction site in a settlement in the West Bank's Jordan Valley on Thursday, in what they said was a message to visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel will never relinquish the strategic area.

Passengers Rescued from Icebound Antarctic Ship

A helicopter rescued all 52 passengers from a research ship that has been trapped in Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve after weather conditions finally cleared enough for the operation Thursday.

Wednesday, January 1

Officer Joseph Maher Released from the Hospital

Tupelo officer Joseph Maher who was shot while trying to stop a bank robber last week, has been released from the hospital.